So rarely does a romantic comedy break from the tried and true mold that the many romantic comedies that came before it set as precedent. They’re usually simple stories where two people meet cute, fall in love, have a forced dramatic falling out and then get back together in the end, much to the pleasure of their target audiences. However, movies like “(500) Days of Summer” proved that you can do something different and tell a truthful story within the genre while still producing something of quality. “Two Night Stand,” on the other hand, puts a unique spin on rom-coms, but fails to produce something meaningful. The two lead actors are game and do their best, but their efforts are frivolous, as the material they’re working with is substandard.
Megan (Analeigh Tipton) is a single girl living with a friend in New York City. She’s unemployed and fresh out of a long term relationship that she never thought would end. One night, her roommate invites her out to mingle with some friends at a bar, urging her to simply hook up with someone and get her mind off her current situation. Unfortunately, she forgets her ID and ends up back at home all alone yet again. In an effort to feel something, she jumps on a dating site and finds Alec (Miles Teller), a twenty something young man who doesn’t feed her creepy lines and lives in an apartment devoid of weird sexual paraphernalia, so she asks him if he wants to meet up for a one night stand, to which he agrees. What they don’t realize is that a storm is approaching. When they wake up the next morning, they realize they are stuck together in his apartment and forced to get to know each other on a deeper level.
Or at least you’d think so. The premise puts a unique spin on an event many have lived through, an event that many would argue is an emotionally thin and unfulfilling experience, even if in the short term it was pleasurable. Megan and Alec have no intention of ever seeing each other again after their night of random fun, but they’re forced to endure each other due to the overnight blizzard. So what do they talk about? Do they philosophize? Do they talk about the things that matter most to them? Do they pick each other’s brains, trying to get to the root of who they are? No, they compare and contrast each other’s love making skills, each criticizing the other for their various sexual deficiencies when, in all honesty, they should be criticizing for being personality-less bores. “Before Sunrise” this is not.
Then, after they’re done verbally destroying each other, they (naturally) decide to give it another go, because nothing puts people in the mood to have sex like hearing how bad they are at it. The preceding moments are meant to be cute, to stand out from the norm of how couples, or even flings, interact, but it comes off as hokey nonsense, which is no doubt due to a collaboration between a first time writer and director. Neither have an idea how to create meaningful moments or set a pace to get to them. Despite some of its shenanigans, “Two Night Stand” clearly aspires to be something more than your typical rom-com, but nearly all of its attempts to stand apart from the crowd fall flat.
The most obvious example comes from its finale. Anyone who has ever been in a romantic relationship knows that romance films are sometimes closer to fantasy than “Harry Potter,” but to get those fuzzy feelings one desires from the genre, one must go along with it, but the final sequence in this film is absurd. It truly reeks of desperation, to not end like its genre brethren and instead put a comedic spin on what usually amounts to a cheesy closing, but it consists of actions that, in the real world (and without spoiling it), would have the complete opposite outcome. If it wasn’t for the shoddy execution up to that point, one would be upset that those aforementioned fuzzy feelings got ruined by such sickening cutesiness.
“Two Night Stand” simply isn’t very good. The two leads are naturally charming, Teller in particular as he somehow manages to pull laughs out of poor material that a lesser actor would be lost in, but their character arcs are unbelievable. At a brisk 82 minutes without credits, they are given no time to grow and the numerous transitions they make from hating to loving each other and back again feel rushed (not to mention that the first transition comes not from a mutual understanding or acceptance of each other, but simply because they got high to pass the time, which isn’t exactly the most romantic way for a relationship to blossom).
It’s commendable for a romantic comedy to try to stand out, especially with a clever premise such as this, but “Two Night Stand” tries too hard and doesn’t have the filmmaking know how to back it up.
Two Night Stand receives 1.5/5